• Middle-aged Hank Devereux begins his story in the prologue by saying he is not an easy man.
• His childhood was not easy - the only child of respected academics who took teaching posts at many universities.
• Hank relates that he was exasperating to his parents, who were probably not cut out for parenthood.
• His parents divorced when he was in junior high.
• As a child, William Henry Devereux, called Henry by his parents, only wanted a dog.
• He tried many tricks to convince his parents to get a dog and finally they relented, his mother requesting that he stop slamming the door.
• One day, when he was eight, his father brought home an adult female Irish Setter, which was not what a very disappointed Hank had in mind.
• His father insisted that Hank name the dog, but Hank refused to, and slammed the door as he left...
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